‘We see with horror that this very science is giving mankind the means to destroy itself. By total military use of weapons feasible today, the earth can be contaminated with radioactivity to such an extent that whole peoples can be annihilated. Neutrals may die thus as well as belligerents.
If war broke out among the great powers, who could guarantee that it would not develop into a deadly conflict? A nation that engages in a total war thus signals its own destruction and imperils the whole world … All nations must come to the decision to renounce force as a final resort. If they are not prepared to do this, they will cease to exist.’
Today in 1955, eighteen Nobel Laureates, including Otto Hahn, Max Born and Linus Pauling signed the Mainau Declaration against the proliferation of nuclear weapons, another 52 signatures would follow.